Louisa Enright's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘scrappy quilts

Turkey Tracks: “Piecing Heaven” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  January 12, 2015

“Piecing Heaven” Quilt

My downstairs tv sitting room is a favorite place for the dogs.

And, for me.

An outside door sits at this room’s entryway, so the dogs tend to track in outside debris.  (People in Maine don’t wear their outside shoes inside.  Shoes are removed at the door.)

I have a doggie blanket on the couch–which just got recovered not too, too long ago.  But though the blanket does the protection job, it looks so shabby–as you can see below.

So, I decided to use scrappy quilts all over this room instead.  Not always spread out, but folded in key places.

Quilts that could be used, washed, and loved, loved to death.

Here’s the first one–made from my box of 2 1/2 inch strips:  “Piecing Heaven”–because I had so much fun making it.



Here it is on the back of the couch.  Reynolds Georgia hangs out here a lot.  See how ratty the dog blanket looks?



Here it is from the back:




Grandson Kelly picked out the backing fabric last summer, and I can’t wait for him to see it in this quilt.  Likely, if it holds up, this quilt will go to him at some point.



I used a Bishop’s Fan groovy board and an old gold colored thread–which works fine in the quilt.  Love the Bishop’s Fan pattern.



The center:



A random piece…





Here’s Gail Nicholson’s quilt on the orange chair–another favorite spot of Reynold’s.



And, here’s the third quilt in this project–almost ready to come off the design wall.  I love how this quilt is coming out.  This is a Bonnie Hunter pattern, and the border idea is also on her blog:  “Scrappy Trip Around the World.”  Again, I’m using the 2 1/2=inch scrap strips to build this quilt.



I got this backing fabric–on the long arm–at the Alewives (quilt shop) sale last weekend–40% off.  It will work fine, and the colors work in the big room.  With all the seams on the front, I wanted a solid backing.


Turkey Tracks: Bar None Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  May 7, 2012

Bar None Quilt

“Bar None” is all finished.  I LOVE this quilt–from the way it came together to the quilting in it and the binding of it.

Here’s how it started on the design wall–after I took a strip of the rectangles to Marge’s Mainely Sewing and, in passing, waved it over this purple/lime green fabric–which just made everything sing.  It’s going to be a bar quilt–with a strip of what is called “Chinese Coins”–or rectangles stacked into a bar.

Next came the blue and green borders, which I found on a rainy day at Fiddlehead in Belfast–lovely contemporary fabrics there:

What’s fun about this quilt are the lively colors–I adore the purple and green and the clearer blue all together.

The girls like it, too.  Both wanted pictures taken on this quilt.

Here’s a close up–see the swag quilting on the green border and the really fun toothy leaves in the blue border–I’ll use those again in the future.  The green border is done with green thread, and the blue border with blue thread.

Here’a another view:

Here’s a close-up of the borders and the terrific polka dot magenta binding:

Here’s the backing–which is a kind of reversal of the purple on the front–blue with tiny magenta dots:

I don’t know if the next photo will do justice to the free-hand quilting–it’s some of my best and I felt really good doing it on the long-arm–it’s a three-leaf pattern combined with a kind of twining vine that works like a meander to help me travel around.  The thread is a variegated purple, green, magenta, blue blend from Signature.

It’s going to be hard to part with this one!

Written by louisaenright

May 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Turkey Tracks: Quilting the Last of the Rectangles

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Turkey Tracks:  April 27, 2008

Quilting the Last of the Rectangles

For those of you following The Scrappy Quilting Project progress, I’ve used up the last of the 2 by 3 1/2-inch rectangles I have been cutting for over 10 years.  I had BAGS of them–all ready to be used.

This quilt, as yet unnamed, is on Lucy, the longarm right now:

I really like this quilt.  I’ve always wanted to make a bar-type quilt, and I like the “Chinese Coin” bar arrangement.

I have another set of the rectangles in shades of cream that I’ve sewn into this same kind of barred formation.  Hmmmm.  They look good with browns:

I took the very last rectangles and made them into eight funky placemats, using fabrics from my stash for borders, backings, and bindings.  They turned out to be surprisingly cute.  And, given the experience of other placemats I’ve made, they will last forever and only get prettier as they get worn.

These placemats, I discovered, do best when they are NOT overquilted.  Here’s one that is overquilted, so you can see what I mean.  These placemats are reversible, so this one looks great on the other side!  Anyway, a simple meander works better, given all the color and scrappiness.

I paired the placemats with an array of different-colored napkins and some cute napkin rings (brass chickens) and sent them off to the four older grandchildren in Charleston.  There are six for the family and two for me and John–which was a nice way to signaling to the children that we are coming to visit soon.  Wilhelmina, the four-year old, got this concept right away.  My reward was a big belly laugh from her.

Here’s the picture I got back from Tami of the placemats on her table–as arranged by Talula:

I had told Talula that I was making something for her when I talked to her about the quilt she helped make for me.  And, I called and told her the “something” was in the mail.  She was so excited when the package arrived.  She called me right away, and we discussed who was to get which placemat, which one she liked best, and could I help her make some in the near future.  When she comes next, I’ll turn her loose with rectangles, some pins, and see what she designs on the design board in my quilting room.  Then we can sew some placemats together.  She will be old enough to operate the sewing machine before we know it.

She was so excited that the chicken napkin rings almost got lost.  They were at the bottom of the package in a plastic bag.  I can see from this picture Talula has used some of their napkin rings.

So, here’s what’s left of the rectangles at this point…

Except for some rectangles I put aside for another project…

And, except for the ones I’ve cut in the past few weeks…

Turkey Tracks: Blue Fox Trot Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  March 4, 2012

Blue Fox Trot Quilt

I’ve finished another scrappy quilt in what I’m now thinking about as “The Scrappy Project.”

To remind, I have BAGS of pre-cut pieces of fabric since for over 10 years, whenever I finish a quilt, I cut up the leftover pieces–too small to go back into the stash–into useable pieces–a rectangle, various squares, and any strip that’s at least 1 1/2 inches.

This quilt is made from the 2 by 3 1/2-inch rectangles and was inspired by this book:

First I separated out all the blue rectangles from the HUGE piles of rectangles and further separated into lights, darks, and brights.  Then, I made a trial block.  I pretty much knew this idea would work because about 9 years ago, I made a green version from leftovers of a green rail quilt.  Green Fling hangs in the stairwell of our home in Camden, Maine:

Here’s a few trial blocks going on the design wall–I had to figure out whether or not to turn either the light or dark blocks sideways or not.  I did turn them eventually as I thought it gave more movement.  Somehow, if the blocks are all upright, the quilt is too linear.  Also, turning either the lights or darks means you don’t have seam abutment problems.  Here all the blocks are going one way.  Too…linear…

Here’s the finished quilt.  See how better it is with one set of blocks turned.

Here’s the backing and binding–both of which are perfect for this quilt.

Here’s a close-up of some of the blocks so you can see the quilting and the play of the blocks:

Blue Fox Trot–slow, slow, quick step.  There are two fox trots in each block and enough blocks to dance around the room.

Turkey Tracks: String Symphony Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  February 24, 2012

String Symphony Quilt

One set of scraps I’ve saved for the past 10 years or more now are strips of fabrics that are at least 1 1/2 inches wide.  For the past two months, I’ve been making WONDERFUL! quilts with these pre-cut scraps–as you can see on this blog.

What to do with these strips though?

I had been thinking for years of a log cabin quilt, so I tried a traditional block, as I love those, but the initial block was tedious to make and dull.  I knew I’d go quite mad if I started down that road…   Besides, I wasn’t sure I had enough lights and darks to make a log cabin quilt work well.  Here’s that block:

What about a string block?  I cut 6 1/2 muslin blocks and started strip and flip sewing a few, which you can see untrimmed here.

Four blocks together looked interesting.  The mixed colors worked quite well together…

Now what?

Float the blocks in a print?  Maybe surround the block with a fabric that is solid or appears solid–much like Kaffee Fasset likes to do with a wild print?  Here’s a block surrounded with one of Kaffe Fasset’s fabrics.  I set in 9-patch squares along the sides and into the strip above the big blocks.  If I could change anything, it would be to use a bolder fabric to edge the blocks–one that blended more with the background fabrics.  A brighter block edging that also faded into the background print with the 9 patches.

Here’s the finished quilt, which I called “String Symphony” because the quilt plays music your heart can hear.  It “sings.”

Here’s the back (another fabulous Kaffe Fasset!) and the binding is an orange and pink polka dot fabric that works with both sides:

I love this quilt!  It’s a very happy quilt.  And, it’s my 74th quilt.

I used up most of the fabric strips and have already started saving more as I continue quilting.  And I have about 5 single blocks left over.   HMMMM….   I wonder if I could make placemats…

Written by louisaenright

February 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Turkey Tracks: “Two Bits” quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  January 29, 2012

“Two Bits” Quilt

As I’ve been writing since early January, for over 10 years, when I finish a quilt I make myself cut up any leftover fabric pieces that are too small to fold and put into my stash.  I start with the largest square–up to 5 inches–and work down.  The smallest square I cut is two inches.  And, at the start of January, I had two and a-half bags of two-inch squares.

I had been seeing large blocks made from these small squares for some time–say a block of 25 (or 5 rows by 5 rows).   But, what color setting fabric to use?  I didn’t want to use a cream or white muslin.  That would be pretty, but too tame for me.  Then I saw a quilt in the December 2011 “American Patchwork and Quilting” by Miriam Kujac that used a soft black setting fabric and used, even, grey borders.  The small patches glowed with the soft black to set them off.  This quilt was a reproduction of an antique quilt that used a type of grey/black fabric called “Mourning” that was made from the 1800s on.  Kujac named her quilt “Mourning Glory” after that antique fabric.

Also, I liked the alternating rows of two different sized blocks Kujac used.

Here’s “Two Bits” at its beginning.  You can see some–but by no means all–of the other sacks of cut fabric.  There’s a huge bucket full of them off the end of my ironing board!  And, there are MANY more of the two-inch squares.  I think what’s in the pic is the contents of one bag.

Here’s the finished quilt.  The picture does not begin to do justice to this fabulous quilt!

I had a large piece of red (cranberries) fabric in my stash that was perfect for the backing:

I used a soft grey thread to quilt “Two Bits,” and a pantograph of feathers that were full of curves–to offset the straight lines of the quilt blocks.

Finally, here’s a picture of the grey borders and binding–all from my stash:

One of the fun–and sweet–things about using these squares is that I was–and am again now looking at these pictures–of all the other quilts I have worked on.  I deliberately placed blocks with faces–and there were a lot of faces of all sorts–directionally–so that they were all going the same way.  For those of you who have one of my quilts, look closely as you’re liable to see some fabric  you recognize.

“Two Bits” is now living at my sister’s house–Jamie  Philpott Howser–in Atlanta, Georgia.  She likes it too.

The leftover two-inch squares are mostly warm colors.   Hmmmmm.   Maybe a rich russet brown setting fabric???

Turkey Tracks: Happy New Year! Happy Quilting!

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Turkey Tracks:  January 16, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy Quilting!

Happy New Year!

This post is the first post of 2012.

The first two weeks of 2012 have been a period of intense creativity which has taken the form of quilting madness.  Thus, no computer work, no columns written, no blog posts, no fancy cooking.  Just quilting and maintenance tasks like laundry and feeding us and the animals.

I’ve noticed that I have a habit of reorganizing in the quilt room in January.  Two years ago I sorted books, moved the room around, and went through bins of supplies.  Last year I reorganized my stash–recoloring, refolding, pulling out small pieces, and so forth.  This year I went to scrappy heaven–after days of cutting up the unruly pile of fabrics that were not big enough to “file” in the stash.

Since I first started quilting in earnest in 1999, I have been cutting up leftover scraps into what I thought might be useable future pieces–starting with the biggest square I could get–6 inches.  The sizes went down from there to 2-inch squares, to 3 1/2 by 2-inch rectangles, to  1 1/2 inch strips.  I now have BAGS of cut scraps, and this year, I pulled them out and started piecing, sorting, and piecing some more.  I’ve completely finished and quilted two quilts, have 2 other tops ready for backings that I need to purchase since I don’t have anything quite right in the stash, have a quilt pieced on the design wall, and can see 3 or 4 quilts still in the scraps which have now been sorted by color.

Along the way I’ve realized that from now on I’ll probably just cut 5-inch squares, 3 1/2-inch squares, 2-inch squares,  2 by 3 1/2-inch rectangles, and the 1 1/2-inch strips.  The 3 1/2-inch squares, 2-inch squares, and the rectangles can be combined in all sorts of ways to make interesting blocks.

For instance, here’s a block made from this combo–set inside a striped fabric that helps control the wild blocks:

And I really love this one where the center is made with leftover 3 1/2-inch blocks from an earlier quilt:

I first chose a different surrounding stripe, but it didn’t play nicely with all the blocks.  But, not to worry, I’ve got LOTS of purple, blue, and green fabrics in my stash–so here’s another quilt from the scraps that will be really pretty.

I particularly loved this block and started seeing them all set on-point:

Here’s how this wild, colorful quilt is shaping up–the outer blocks will be trimmed just beyond their centers to square the whole thing up:

The rectangles alone can be used in all sorts of ways.  Here’s one example with blue rectangles and an alternating light and dark center/edge:

The center of this block can be either 2 rectangles or one 3 1/2-inch square.  The  pink and black blocks on the right are the Broken Dishes pattern made from 5-inch light and dark squares.  The 5-inch square finished to 4 inches trimmed.  (I always cut slightly larger for ANY half-square type block and trim to size since I have never in my life sewed perfectly enough to make the measurements come out correctly.)

One of the completed quilts is made from the BAGS of 2-inch squares.  I’ll show it and one made from 5-inch half-square triangle blocks separately in another post.  And another top is a La La Log Cabin version made from the 1 1/2-inch strips–also to be shown separately.  And there is a rather nice blue and white quilt made from leftover blue and white blocks from earlier projects–I have yet to take a picture of it.

And so, 2012 begins!!

Written by louisaenright

January 16, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Turkey Tracks: Warm and Wonderful

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Turkey Tracks:  March 13, 2011

Warm and Wonderful

Here’s another scrappy quilt made wholly from my stash.  This one uses the 4-inch blocks, and can I tell you, I have at least enough bright ones left to make a whole other quilt! 

What I had fun with here is the placement of the paper doll blocks.  The first one was an accident; I was just using warm colored 4-inch squares roughly alternated with neutrals.  Linda McKinney passed through the quilt room one day and expressed delight with the faces and feet now scattered about the quilt.   So, I deliberately did more and placed them advantageously. 


Here’s a close-up, so you can see some of the quilting.  I’ve learned to use stencils and pounce powder (or erasable chalk pencils) to trace in stencil lines and then to quilt them.  You can see a bird and a dragonfly, at least, in this picture.  And, I densely quilted.  This quilt is a lap size, about 56 x 72, and it took FOUR industrial-sized bobbins.  I used a commercial big-cone thread and had no problems with thread breakage.  Indeed, this is the first quilt I’ve done on Lucy with which I felt really at-ease.  

The backing is a warm beige that, it turned out, I had enough of to make the batting.   


Warm and Wonderful was made especially for someone special. 

Written by louisaenright

March 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Turkey Tracks: Spinner

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Turkey Tracks:  March 13, 2011


I’ve been on a mission to use up more of my stash fabrics.  After all, I loved them when I bought them.  And, it’s true that I still love most of them now.

Whenever I finish a quilt, I cut small leftover pieces of fabric into the largest useable square I can, beginning with 6 inches and going down to 2 inches and 1 1/2 inch strips for log cabins.  Lately, though, especially after making this quilt, I’ve been cutting pieces into useable strips and not cutting further since this quilt needed a rectangle, not a square, so I had to cut those extra. 

The 8-inch “Spinner” block was designed by Bonnie Hunter and appeared in the March April 2010 (#132) issue of QUILTMAKER magazine.  Her idea is as you cut and sew other projects, you make a few of these blocks here and there, and soon, you’ll have enough for a quilt.  I found myself putting aside other projects and making all of these blocks uninterrupted.  They’re fairly addictive.     

What is helping control the quilt is the repeating red square within each block and across the quilt–a tactic Hunter recommends.  Here is a rather fuzzy picture since somehow very often I can’t seem to hold the camera still reliably.  But, note, also, the little quilt to the left, which was made from the small triangles that are cut off of Spinner’s large rectangle’s flip and sew method.  That small quilt is called “Essence,” since a friend who saw it on the design board said that it was the essence of the large quilt.  Essence is almost finished now, so will appear here soon no doubt.   


I quilted Spinner on Lucy the Long Arm, and I think it came out rather well.  I learned to use a round template on the outside borders.  I think I had old thread, however, and struggled with thread breaking a lot.  I got an additional thread spike that sits close to the take-up arm on the machine, so maybe that will help with the Mettler cottons I use for machine quilting on the domestic machine.   

 The pink pig backing, seen below, came when I realized Marge of Mainely Sewing in Nobleboro had some of this fabric left.  Remember that Karen Johnson,  The Community School student who learned to make a quilt with me last year, used it to back her quilt?  In fact, this quilt is very like Karen’s quilt, which probably shows how much I liked what she did.   You can see Karen’s quilt in the May 17, 2010, post called “Two Quilts.”  


Don’t know who it’s going to yet.

Written by louisaenright

March 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Turkey Tracks: Surprise Big and Little Quilts

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Turkey Tracks:  September 30, 2010

Surprise Big and Little Quilts

When fall arrives, I often mark the season, it seems, with some reorganization project.  This year, it has been reorganizing my quilting room.  I’m trying to see if I can get a Handi Quilter Long Arm Machine in there without losing too much functionality.  It will mean replacing some long work tables with the machine, but I won’t need those long tables if I don’t have to hand layer and pin large quilts. 

Getting a long-arm is a long-held dream.  And, it’s a bit scary.  There’s a whole new learning curve for one thing.  Will I be able to master it to my levels of perfection, which are huge?  Will I be able to assemble the thing?  Will I be able to do the classes, which are 3 hours away?  Will I be able to use my existing threads?  It’s a process I’ve been inching toward for about 5 years now.  Getting a long-arm will significantly increase my productivity.  And I have about a dozen quilt projects lined up to do, and I love to piece.  And, I don’t ever want to give up learning something demanding and new.  Especially not something that brings so much pleasure to so many people. 

My younger son Bryan and his wife Corinne are expecting their first child, a girl, in early December, and we are so excited.  When they were here this summer, Corinne and I picked out fabrics for a diaper bag, two sets of fabrics for receiving blankets, and fabrics for a lively, colorful quilt.  I also have fabric for a baby quilt for my niece, who is expecting her first child, a boy, about this time.  And, my older son’s wife, Tami, went home this summer with my placemat loom, her own loom which my husband John made for her, and all her fabric already cut into strips.  She left me with the napkins, which I can hem in short order.  (We’re going to work on the placemats together at Thanksgiving.  I think she has a picture of a finished one on her blog:  http://6enrights.blogspot.com ).  And, I have a new purse cut out for me.  My current purse is in shreds.   

So why aren’t I working on any of these planned projects?  I’ve gotten badly side0tracked, it seems.  What’s going on?

Ok, whenever I finish a quilt, I take all the smallish bits of leftover fabric and cut it into useable sizes:  1 1/2-in strips for log cabins, squares from 2 to 6 inches,and rectangles in two sizes that I use.  I have bags of them now, and I keep telling myself that I need to start using them–though, as I said, I have at least a dozen other quilts to be made.  I’m always cutting out articles about interesting blocks to use “someday” for these scrappy leftovers.  This spring I saw an article in QUILTMAKER (March/April 2010) by Bonnie Hunter about a “Spinner” block that’s nice for scrappy quilts made with leftovers.  Hunter just keeps 4 squares in the block in one color as a unifying strategy.  Hunter says as she works she cuts leftover fabrics into sizes for the Spinner block and sews a block up when she has enough pieces.  Eventually she has a quilt.

I took out my sack of 2 1/2-inch squares and pulled out all the brights.  The unifying block would be red, though I added a few pinks and oranges to shake things up a bit.  Here’s what happened almost immediately:


Yes, there are two quilts.  I made the little one from the tiny triangles leftover from trimming out part of the Spinner block.  I think “possessed” would be the right descriptive word.   It took about a week!  Here’s a better look at the little guy,with which I’ve absolutely fallen in love.  I have no idea how I’m going to quilt it, but it seems to want some beading fringe at the bottom.   And, it will stay in my quilt room.


The big quilt–which is perfectly square despite the camera’s distortion of it–will go to someone.  There are bits of a black fabric with pink pigs in it.  I found more of it to use as the backing.  And, I think what’s going on with this whole surprise quilt thing is that the big quilt is meant to be my first quilt on the long-arm.  It’s made from scraps.  Well, ok, I did have to cut more fabrics in my stash to get all the colors, especially the red unifyling squares.  And I don’t have any emotional investment in it in terms of planning something special for a particular person.  I will be able to work on it without added stress.   

I promise, Bryan and Corinne and Tami, I’m going to get right onto our joint projects now that I’ve worked out this whole “use up the cut scraps” thing and have made the decision to call the long-arm people for prices.

Written by louisaenright

September 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm